Press release

Welcome fall in long-term unemployment

Long-term unemployment fell by 15,000 this quarter to its lowest level for nearly a year, according to official figures released today.

Long-term unemployment fell by 15,000 this quarter to its lowest level for nearly a year, according to official figures released today.

Overall unemployment also fell by 14,000 to 2.5million and there were fewer people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, according to the Office for National Statistics.

There are more people in work than ever before, with the number of people in employment rising by 154,000 to 29.7 million. All of the increase was in full-time work.

The UK employment rate is now higher than in the United States and is well above that in the Eurozone. Of the extra people in work over the last year, nearly nine out of ten are British.

There has also been a rise in the number of young people in work, and fewer young people are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, said:

The fall in long-term unemployment is particularly welcome and shows that the training and support we are offering is helping people move off benefits and into work.

These figures show another big increase in full-time jobs, half a million more British people in work over the past year and more women in employment than ever before.

The UK is now ahead of many its international rivals when it comes to cutting unemployment and creating jobs which is so important as we compete in a global race.

Today’s figures also show:

  • The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 12,500 in the last month, and the number of people claiming JSA for more than 12 months also fell.
  • More women are in work than ever before.
  • Excluding full-time students, the number of young people (16-24) in work rose by 66,000 this quarter and the number of 18-24 year olds on JSA fell for the eighth month in a row.
  • The number of people on the main out of work benefits has fallen by 230,000 since May 2010.
  • Over the past year, the UK’s unemployment rate has fallen faster than any other G7 country; over the same period the UK’s employment rate has also risen faster than any other G7 country.
  • The proportion of people classed as ‘inactive’ - those who are not in work and not looking for work - is at the lowest in over two decades.

The Government is committed to helping more people into work. The Work Programme has already helped more than 200,000 people at risk of long-term unemployment off benefits and into a job. Through the Youth Contract we are offering nearly 500,000 opportunities to young people over the next three years through work experience, apprenticeships and wage incentives for employers.

Background to labour market statistics: February 2013

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers October to December 2012. The claimant count is for January 2013 and the vacancy count for November 2012 to January 2013.

The number of people in work rose this quarter and is a record high

  • 29.73 million people were in work in October to December 2012.
  • The employment level rose 154 thousand on the previous quarter and 584 thousand on the year
  • The employment rate is 71.5%, up 0.3 points on the quarter and up 1.1 points on the year.

ILO unemployment fell this quarter

  • 2.50 million people were ILO unemployed in the October to December 2012 quarter, down 14 thousand on the previous quarter and 156 thousand on the year.
  • The ILO unemployment rate is 7.8%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and down 0.6 points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is down, and the inactivity rate is the lowest since 1991

  • The economic inactivity level is 8.98 million in the October to December 2012 quarter, down 94 thousand on the previous quarter and 294 thousand on the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate is 22.3%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and down 0.8 points on the year.
  • Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 16.8%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and down 0.6 points on the year.

The number of people on JSA fell this month; while the number of people on the other inactive benefits was close to flat

  • Claimant unemployment was 1,541 thousand in January 2013, down 12.5 thousand on the month and down 64.0 thousand on the year.
  • The claimant count rate is 4.7%, unchanged on the month and down 0.2 points on the year.
  • The figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including reforms to eligibility for lone parent benefits and re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits.  Both are likely to have added to the JSA caseload between December and January.
  • In the year to May 2012, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 42,100 to 2.53 million. The most recent provisional figure for Dec 2012 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.49 million.
  • In the year to May 2012, the number of lone parents on income support fell 18,300 to 577,000. The provisional figure for Dec 2012 is 510,000, suggesting that the level is trending downwards.

Unfilled vacancies are steady, but redundancies also picked up slightly

  • There were 145 thousand redundancies in October to December 2012, up 17 thousand on the previous quarter but down 19 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’ vacancy survey estimates an average of 487 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to January 2013, up 1 thousand on the previous quarter and 24 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in December 2012 was up by 1.4% over the year

  • Growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up by 1.3% on the year

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